31 January 2013
Whether it's in the classroom, the office or in social settings, people with autism are often misunderstood. Now a new exhibition launched today (31stJanuary) at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences aims to challenge common misconceptions and raise awareness of the condition.
Created by local artist Sol Jorgensen Silent Feelings – the life of my autistic child is an installation recounting the life of her son Seth who himself has physical disabilities and a genetic condition.
Through pictures taken throughout her son's life, displayed as though in her own home, Sol aims to offer the viewer an opportunity to look through a window into her family's world.
Through this poignant exhibition Sol hopes to raise awareness of autism and also of the charities that support individuals and families such as MENCAP and the National Autistic Society.
Speaking about her son and the exhibition Sol said: "Seth is 21 and his genetic condition, mitochondrial myopathy, was not diagnosed until 2010. This means that at a cellular level Seth cannot change the sugars from food into energy. This affects every aspect of his life. He is always ill, always tired and always cold. However, we work daily using physical and speech therapy programmes, and work to his pace and with his agreement. Doing this has meant that he is no longer bed-ridden or having a stomach fed to tube feed him.
"The photos show him doing things which are ordinary to others but a great achievement to us. He is an ordinary young man living an extraordinary life."
The exhibition was officially opened by Jane Hutt AM, Assembly Minister for Finance and Leader of the House. Speaking about the exhibition the Minister said: "'I am delighted to be attending Sol and Seth's beautiful exhibition which I would encourage people to go and see. It is truly thought provoking and a privilege to look inside Sol and Seth's world."
There are currently more than half a million people with autism in the UK. As a serious and lifelong developmental disability autism can cause individuals to have difficulties with social communication, interaction and imagination. Whilst there is no cure there are a number of learning and development techniques used to help those with the condition live independent lives.
Director of Mencap Cymru Wayne Crocker added: "Sol and Seth's story shows the positive results of making sure that families have a say in the support they receive. I've seen the photos when they've been exhibited elsewhere, and they really are wonderful. Some are touching, and others thought-provoking. I'd urge all our followers – and people who don't know about learning disabilities - to take the opportunity to see this exhibition where they can."
The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences regularly plays host to local exhibitions particularly highlighting work related to physical and developmental disabilities.
Silent Feelings – the life of my autistic child will be open to the public from Thursday 31st January until Friday 1st March 9am – 5pm at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4LU.